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This is the blog of the Campus Ministry of the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa.
This ministry is provided by the pastors and congregations of the Westgate Circuit of the Iowa District East of the LCMS.
Pastor Ronnie Koch is the Blogger and Supervising Pastor of the Campus Ministry.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


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Monday, May 6, 2013

Notes on Large Catechism -- Baptism

A Study of
Luther's Large Catechism

as found in Concordia: the Lutheran Confessions, A Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord edited by Paul Timothy McCain, Second Edition, Concordia Publishing House, © 2006.

Those in the Ark were saved by water. Genesis 7 & 8
engraving by Gustave Dore

All Who Believe and Are Baptized
By: Thomas H. Kingo

All who believe and are baptized
Shall see the Lord's salvation;
Baptized into the death of Christ,
They are anew creation;
Through Christ's redemption they will stand
Among the glorious heavenly band
Of every tribe and nation.

With one accord, O God, we pray,
Grant us your Holy Spirit;
Help us in our infirmity
Through Jesus' blood and merit;
Grant us to grow in grace each day
By holy Baptism that we may 
Eternal life inherit.

1st Published in: 1689

Read in the Large Catechism Part 4 BAPTISM pages 423 to the top of page 428 in Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions.

1.                  In paragraph #1, Luther says that without the sacraments a person "cannot be a Christian". How can Luther make such a bold statement about the sacraments? (Hint: for baptism in particular, see #23-24)

2.    What will help us trust in baptism without doubting, according to paragraphs #3-6

3,         3.  People think of Baptism as being just an external and therefore optional act.  What makes it priceless and precious? (#8)

4.         4. Who baptized you?  (#10)

5.         5. You may want to underline or highlight St. Augustine's definition of a sacrament. (#18)

6.        What is the one reason God instituted baptism?  (#24 and 1 Peter 3:21)

7.     What comfort can you find in Acts  2:37-38?

      Does Peter's command here, "Repent and be baptized." imply that youa re saved by a work you do? Why or why not? (#36)

8.                  What comfort can you find in John 3:3-5? (See also #25)

9.                  How should Christians use their Baptism?  (#44)

Read in the Large Catechism Infant Baptism pages 104 to 109 and answer the following questions:

1.                  What is one piece of evidence that God is pleased with infant baptism?

 2.                  Some might say that infant baptism is invalid because infants don't believe.  How is this a mistaken sentiment? (#53 & 55)

 3.                  In paragraph #60-63, Luther hits on the real reason why some have difficulty accepting infant baptism.

 4.                  What does Luther refer to as a 3rd sacrament?  (#74) How is it related to baptism?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Notes on Large Catechism -- The Creed

A Study of
Luther's Large Catechism

as found in Concordia: the Lutheran Confessions, A Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord edited by Paul Timothy McCain, Second Edition, Concordia Publishing House, © 2006.

We All Believe in One True God, Father
By: Tobias Clausnitzer
1st Published in: 1699

We all believe in one true God,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Ever present help in need,
Praised by all the heavenly host;
All he made his love enfolds,
All creation he upholds.

We all believe in Jesus Christ,
Son of God and Mary’s son,
Who descended from his throne
And for us salvation won;
By whose cross and death are we
Rescued from all misery.

We all confess the Holy Ghost,
Who from both in truth proceeds,
Who sustains and comforts us
In all trials, fears and needs.
Blest and holy Trinity,
Praise forever yours shall be.

Read in the Large Catechism the Creed and the First Article pages 398-401 and answer the following questions:

1.  How does the Creed help us with respect to the Commandments?  (#2-3)
2.   Why does Luther believe a three part division of the Creed is helpful?   (#6)

3.    What is the most basic answer to the questions, “Who is God?” and “What does He do?”   (#11)

4.   What does it mean for God to be “my Creator”?   (#13)

5.   What is God’s reason for doing all this?   (#17)

6.  What do we owe God as creator?  (#19)

7.  What sorts of sinful attitudes show that we are not believing and confessing this article?  (#21)

The Second Article - Read pages 401 to 402 in the Large Catechism and answer the following questions:

1.  Luther says, “the Second Person of the Godhead. . . has completely poured forth Himself and withheld nothing from us.”  (#26) Read Philippians 2:1-11 and list a couple specific examples of how Christ poured Himself out for us.  See also Matthew 26:28.

2. What does it mean for Jesus Christ to become “my Lord”?  (#27)

3. From what did Jesus Christ redeem us?  (#27)

4. How did he redeem us?  (#31)

5. Now that Christ has become my Lord, how does God think of me?  What attitude does He have toward me?  (#30)

6.  What does it mean to say that Jesus is our “Redeemer”?  (#31)

7.  This article lies at the very center of Christian faith.  Surprisingly the Large Catechism’s explanation of it is rather short.  Where and when will  Christian people receive the detailed explanation of all these individual points?  (#32)

The Third Article - Read pages 402 to 408 in the Large Catechism and answer the following questions:

1. Briefly speaking, what does the Holy Spirit do?  (#35)

2. If Jesus has already saved you, why do you still need the work of the Holy Spirit as described in the third article?  (#38-39)

3.  How does the Holy Spirit make sinners holy?  (#41-42)

4. The Holy Spirit works in the church. When Christ is not preached but works are urged as a means of salvation, it is not the Holy Spirit who is working, but who? (#44)

5. How does the phrase "communion of saints" clarify what we mean when we say "the holy Christian Church"? (#47-48)

6. What is the point of all sacraments and Gospel preaching? (See #55 and look for the common phrase in Matthew 26:28 and Mark 1:4).

7. Is there forgiveness outside of the church?  Why not? (#56 and John 8:31-32)

8. In paragraph #58, Luther says, "For now we are only half pure and holy." What does that mean? And how does it make this article seem more pertinent to us?

9.  What will the Holy Spirit do on the Last Day?

10. How does the Creed help us to see how "God has revealed Himself and opened the deepest abyss of His fatherly heart and His pure inexpressible love"? (#64-65)

11. How does confessing the Creed divide us from the rest of the world?  (#66)

Notes on Large Catechism -- 9th & 10th Commandments

A Study of
Luther's Large Catechism

as found in Concordia: the Lutheran Confessions, A Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord edited by Paul Timothy McCain, Second Edition, Concordia Publishing House, © 2006.

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife -- Genesis 39
Guido Reni 
Italian, about 1630 
Oil on canvas 
Lord of Glory, You Have Bought Us
By: Eliza S. Alderson

Lord of glory, you have bought us
With your lifeblood as the price,
Never grudging for the lost ones
That tremendous sacrifice;
And with that have freely given
Blessings countless as the sand
To the unthankful and the evil
With your own unsparing hand.

Grant us hearts, dear Lord, to give you
Gladly, freely of your own.
With the sunshine of our goodness
Melt our thankless hearts of stone
Till our cold and selfish natures,
Warmed by you, at length believe
That more happy and more blessed
‘Tis to give than to receive.

Wondrous honor you have given
To our humblest charity
In your own mysterious sentence,
"You have done it all to me."
Can it be, O gracious Master,
That you deign for alms to sue,
Saying by your poor and needy,
"Give as I have given to you"?

Read pages 392 to 395 the Ninth and Tenth Commandment  in the Large Catechism and answer the following questions:

1.  Why do we need to hear these commandments even though we were just told not to steal in the 7th commandment? See also Luke 12:15. (#297)

2. Why would we say that this commandment applies to the most upright people, not those regarded as scoundrels?   (#300)

3.  Luther describes how the civil law, courts, and "good business" practices can be used to get what belongs to another. (#300-304) Napoleon went even further when he said, "The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest person."  Keep your eye opened in the days ahead for examples of this.  What examples have you noticed?  Have you been tempted to do anything like this?

4.  Luther thought that in his day it was rare for someone to use wiles and tricks to entice another=s spouse away. (#305) Do you think it is so uncommon today?
5. People work hard to put up a pretense of righteousness even while they cheat.  At what point does one begin to sin against his neighbor according to the 9th and 10th commandments and Micah 2:1-2?

6.  How then should we feel toward our neighbor and his possessions and material success in life?  (#309)

7.  What is the chief purpose of these and all the commandments? (#310 and the editor's introductory comments on page 392 and Romans 7:7).

Read in the Large Catechism the Conclusion to the 10 Commandments pages 395-398 and answer the following questions:

1.  What do the people of the world (and even some people who would seem to be quite religious) think of the works that the 10 Commandments teach us to carry out?  (#312)

2. How does the First Commandment operate as the chief commandment?  (#326)

3. Why were the Old Testament people supposed to display the Ten Commandments everywhere?  (#331)

4.  What practices could we have in our day to accomplish these same purposes?  (#332)

Notes on Large Catechism -- 7th & 8th Commandments

Read in the Large Catechism the Seventh Commandment pages 384-388 and answer the following questions:

1.  How does the Large Catechism define stealing?  Also consider Ephesians 4:28 and 1 John 3:17.

2.   Leviticus 19:35-36 gives an ancient example.  Can you think of modern examples?

3.  Luther calls the Pope "the head and supreme protector of all thieves." (# 230)  Is it possible that religious leaders today could fall into similar guilt?  See 1 Timothy 6:3-5.

4.  Luther lists some specific offenses in business practices.  How are these examples of breaking the "Golden Rule" Matthew 7:12 and Philippians 2:4?

6.  What is the responsibility of the Church when faced with sins against the 7th Commandment?  (# 249)

7.  What is the responsibility of the Civil Government when faced with sins against the 7th Commandment?  (# 249)

8.  Considering our God's goodness, (# 253) why should we not be tempted to cheat and steal to get what we need?  See Luke 6:35.

Read in the Large Catechism the Eighth Commandment pages 388-392, Proverbs 31:8-9, 1 Peter 4:8 and 1 Corinthians 13:7,  answer the following questions:

 1.  How does a person's reputation affect his standing in society?  See also Proverbs 22:1.
 2.  Whose authority does a gossiper presume to take up? (# 268)

 3.   If you are neighbor has done something truly evil and if it is so dangerous that others should be warned about, and if you are certain of it, what should you do?  (# 270)
4.  What is different about public offenses, and why?  (# 284)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Notes on Large Catechism -- 5th & 6th Commandment

A Study of
Luther's Large Catechism

as found in Concordia: the Lutheran Confessions, A Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord edited by Paul Timothy McCain, Second Edition, Concordia Publishing House, © 2006.

Cain and Abel  Genesis 4
Read in the Large Catechism the Fifth Commandment pages 378-381 and answer the following questions:

1.   Ought the fifth commandment come into the debate over Capital Punishment?  According to Luther, which commandment would be more applicable?  (Or in other words, under whose responsibility does such punishment eventually fall?  See Deuteronomy 20:18-21.)
2. What is forbidden in the commandment?  See Matthew 5:20-26
3.  What is demanded of us in this commandment?  See Matthew 25:42-43 [which is quoted at 191], and Matthew 5:46-47.
4. Name Biblical examples of someone showing favor to their enemies.

5.  At #193, Luther says, "Therefore it is God's ultimate purpose that we let harm come to no one."  Consider Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:16.  Who all is included as our neighbor?

Read in the Large Catechism the Sixth Commandment pages 381-384 and answer the following questions:

1.  On the top of page 382.  Luther refers to one’s spouse as “the closest possession next after his body.”  What makes the relationship with this, our “neighbor”, more significant than other relationship?  See Mark 10:6-9.

2. What is forbidden under this commandment?  1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Ephesians 5:3-4.  Matthew 5:27-28. (#202-204)

3.  What is required?  Especially, how do we serve our neighbor by keeping this commandment? (#205-210)

4. Is it marriage best for everyone? (#211)

5. Luther appreciated good humor.  But when can jesting or teasing go too far?

6. List some of the attacks and assaults on marriage that have arisen since the writing of this catechism.

6.   Read Genesis 2:20-25.  How might the belief in the process of evolution as an explanation of the origin of human life effect one’s understanding of marriage?

Notes on Large Catechism -- 4th Commandment

A Study of
Luther's Large Catechism

as found in Concordia: the Lutheran Confessions, A Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord edited by Paul Timothy McCain, Second Edition, Concordia Publishing House, © 2006.

Jacob Blesses Isaac   Genesis 27

Oh, Blest the House
By: Christoph C. L. vonPfeil

Oh, blest the house, whatever befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
For if he were not dwelling there,
How dark and poor and void it were!

Oh, blest that house where faith is found
And all in charity abound
To trust their God and serve him still
And do in all his holy will!

Oh, blest that house; it prospers will!
In peace and joy the parents dwell,
And in their children’s lives is shown
How richly God can bless his own.

Then here will I and mine today
A solemn covenant make and say: 
Though all the world for sake his Word,
My house and I will serve the Lord.

Hymn # 862 Lutheran Service Book

Author: Joseph Klug
Tune: Wo Gott Zum Haus
1st Published in: 1782

Read Proverbs 23:22; Colossians 3:20; Titus 3:1 and in the Large Catechism the Fourth Commandment page 370-378:

1. After reading the Editor's Note on page 370, identify the vocations you have at this stage of your life.

2. What about this commandment is different than the other commandments that deal with our relation to our neighbors? (#105-106).

3. How is "honor" a greater thing than "love"? 

4.  In what ways are parents and other authorities God's earthly representatives? #108  See also Romans 13:1-2.

5. Carthusian monks and nuns live apart from the rest of society. How would such a life leave a Christian less able to do good works under the fourth commandment? (#120)

6.  What is God's promise to those who keep the Fourth Commandment? (#131) List some specific examples?

7.  Why do our responsibilities to other authorities (say for example, teachers) fall under this commandment? (#141-143)

8.  What could motivate even a lowly servant girl or poor ditch digger go about her or his work with a cheerful heart? (#145)

9. As Christians living in a democratic nation we both obey our leaders and exercise our voice and vote to elect leaders.  Furthermore in a free society we obey our employers and may also exercise our freedom to leave one job and take on another. How do we balance this obedience on the one hand and freedom on the other?

10. What do Christians owe their "spiritual fathers"? (#161-162)